As talented to handle make-up brushes as they are to predict the trends of the market, Alexandra Bonelli and Nelly Chatagnon launched the blog MakeMyBeauty in 2010. A community platform through which, the two make-up artists showcase their down to earth and incredibly positive approach in terms of beauty. Encounter with these two make-up artists/entrepreneurs, who offer personalized coaching sessions, consulting for leading brands and are launching their e-shop in the Fall.
When did you decide that beauty would become your trade?
Nelly: as a little girl, I wanted to be a trapeze artist, but I was already attracted by beauty products. It happened when I was a teenager: I began with a BTS degree in cosmetology, a training for persons who create creams in labs—it still helps me a lot today. I continued with a make-up school. And I was lucky to meet make-up artist Fred Farrugia with whom I collaborated in parallel of my studies.
Alexandra: around 14/15 years old, I already knew that I wanted to become a make-up artist. I dropped out of high school the last year to follow a training program in a beautician school and I never regretted not having presented my Baccalaureate. At 18 years old, I attended a make-up school in Paris. After working for Lancôme during several months, I met Linda Cantello, a great make-up artist whom I followed around the world during two years.
Encounters seem very important in this universe...
Nelly: to be a good make-up artist, having talent is important but it’s not enough. This is a trade of encounters, one must take advantage of opportunities and be capable of reaching out towards others, knowing how to see one’s self. It is not necessarily the best technicians who are the most successful.
Speaking of encounters, tell us about yours?
Nelly: at the time, we both worked for Nars, we met during a brand event. We appreciated each other, sometimes we got together after work, but we were not thinking of teaming up.
Alexandra: the idea came from a friend! She knew I was thinking of launching a blog, but did not want to do it alone. As for Nelly, her dreamt was to launch a site, but she did not really know how to go about it. This is when our friend suggested we launch MakeMyBeauty together.
What was the purpose of MakeMyBeauty?
Alexandra: The blog had the ideal format to speak about us, communicate on our trade and make women feel like meeting us. At the time, we already offered at home make-up courses; we really liked this direct relationship with ordinary gals, but we needed exposure. MakeMyBeauty was launched in 2010 with the idea or sharing our vision of beauty.
The beauty sphere has exploded over the past years, what kind of relationships do you have with bloggers and beauty YouTubers.
Nelly: Globally, we don’t hang out with the blogosphere. Aside from certain girls such as Alina aka Kleo Beauté, Mon blog de fille, Mathilde Lacombe, Lili Barbery, Nikki DeRoest, or the Pixiwoo sisters whom we follow and appreciate, most YouTubers have a vision of beauty that is a far cry from ours. I often take jabs at them in my articles, but it’s a phenomenon that cannot be ignored.
And actually, where they are really interesting, is at the sociological level: why do they wear so much make-up? How did they standardize make-up?
Alexandra: it’s true that the trend is extreme face painting, and the new season is going to feature lots of sequins! But when one takes a close look, in the past, there were other standards, during the 60s it was the eyeliner, in the 70s it was plucked eyebrows…
MakeMyBeauty has become a company, how did things evolve?
Nelly: Today, we still have the blog that we update twice a week and workshops for private persons, but we mostly have B to B clients. We did not anticipate it, but little by little, brands solicited us as beauty gurus (without sounding pretentious!) to find answers to their problems. Examples? Les Aéroports de Paris, to whom we suggested shopping experience with make-up animations, Yves Rocher, for whom we are the spokespersons during product launches.
Alexandra: our proximity with consumers enables us to bring concrete answers. Blue lipstick? No girl in our universe would wear it.
The demand from brands is such that we are preparing the opening of our training school for 2019.
Are there mistakes you would have preferred to avoid in your entrepreneurship?
Nelly: our biggest mistake? To have signed up with a press office that did not do its work properly. It was a big budget for us and we were taken advantage of.
Alexandra: luckily, my husband helps us on a commercial level. He negotiates the contracts for us and it’s very helpful.
Alexandra, you live near Fontainebleau and work in Paris. Why complicate your life?
Alexandra: I often say everyone chooses their constraints! I spend quite a bit of time in public transportation, but I live in a 150 m2 house with a garden and my kids ride poneys and enjoy kayaking on the weekend. In order for this to function properly, it is important to be organized. On Mondays, I work at home and on Wednesdays, I take care of the kids.
Nelly: I have chosen another lifestyle. I life in a bustling neighbourhood, my flat is smaller. My son does not ride poneys, but he goes to museums!
A tip from an entrepreneur Mom?
Alexandra: I learned to say no, because if you say yes to everyone, you no longer have a life. And on Wednesdays, when I am with my kids, I answer neither emails nor my phone. In the great majority of cases, both can wait until the next day.
Nelly: I have not been able to disconnect to this point, but I certainly try. And we are not totally psycho rigid, if a super opportunity occurs on a Wednesday, the kids go to their nanny.
The beauty tip that changed your life?
Alexandra: I only use green and bio products for my beauty routine. My skin has changed, it is less sensitive than before, I think it is linked. On the e-shop we are launching for the new Fall season, there are only clean brands: Max and me, an Austrian label that cultivates plants while singing mantras, Lodesse, a brand of essentials assembled in keeping with artisanal traditions...
Nelly: being cool with one’s self! In our trade, we do the make-up of really great looking girls, so it’s best to be sure of our image. And this is not easy, especially as we grow older, it’s important to really work on one’s self— yoga helps me a lot. Our friend and coach Valentina de Pietri comes to give us courses at the workshop.
For more info on MakeMyBeauty.
MakeMyBeauty 119 Rue Vieille-du-Temple, 75003 Paris 06 80 72 99 99, by appointment.
Also go check out the interview of Mathilde Lacombe and vegan guru Rebecca Leffler.